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Prince William and Kate Middleton’s relationship has long been in the spotlight, including all of the subtle PDA they’ve shown at royal engagements and the fun rivalry between one another. During the couple’s engagement interview with ITV News (via Express), the Duke of Cambridge opened up about what made him fall in love with Kate while the two were still students at St. Andrew’s University. He said, “She’s got a really naughty sense of humor, which kind of helps me because I’ve got a really dry sense of humor,” while also adding, “We’re down to earth, we take the mickey out of each other a lot, and she’s got plenty of habits that make me laugh that I tease her about.”

Not only that, but following their wedding in 2011, William told Katie Couric (via the Daily Mail) that he’s “very sad that” his late mother, Princess Diana, is “never going to get a chance to meet Kate,” he said.

And while William and Kate’s romance is one that royal experts and authors will talk about for decades to come, it’s his past relationship with Jecca Craig that still has a lot of people scratching their heads. And that’s not because Jecca was supposedly the one that got away, but because of their continued friendship even after William married Kate.

Prince William and Jecca Craig reportedly had a ‘pretend engagement’ once

While Prince William and Kate Middleton’s breakup and makeup were well documented before the couple tied the knot in 2011, there was another woman in the prince’s life that had a huge impact on him: Jecca Craig. The two met during William’s gap year from Eton College — before he fell in love with Kate during their university years, per the Daily Mail. Interestingly enough, The Telegraph spotted William and Jecca hanging out with one another at Jecca’s home in Kenya in May 2010, only six months before he asked Kate to become his wife. In addition, William reunited with his ex-girlfriend once again in 2014 when they went on a hunting trip in Spain with a few of their pals. The Duchess of Cambridge stayed home with their then-one-year-old son Prince George at the time, per Us Weekly

If that weren’t enough, Prince William also decided to attend Jecca’s wedding to Jonathan Baillie in 2016. According to Vanity Fair, William once again left Kate and George at home to attend the wedding of his supposed “first love” alone. This even prompted outlets like the Daily Mail to wonder why he decided to fly to Kenya at the very last moment to see a woman that he reportedly had a “pretend engagement” with while they were still teenagers. And while William’s closeness with Jecca has certainly raised a few eyebrows over the years, there might be a good reason for it.

Jecca Craig’s father sparked Prince William’s passion for conservation

According to Express, Prince William is the patron of Tusk Trust, a charity that Jecca Craig and her family supports. The Duke of Cambridge even attended the annual Tusk Conservation Awards in London back in November 2021, which he helped launch, per People. Jecca’s father, Ian Craig, also seemed to have a lasting impact on the future king of England. William first met Jecca’s father in 1995 during a visit to their family’s conservation ranch in Kenya. 

Recalling that trip, William said that Ian helped make him into a conservationist. According to the Daily Mail, he said in 2021, “I had such an amazing experience, where I got to see [Ian] darting an elephant for research purposes, and I must have been 16, 17, something like that.” He further added, “Back then, conservation was very much a case of: put wildlife over here, put people over there. Don’t let them meet. And Ian came along with a pretty radical idea, which was: ‘You can’t keep these two entities separate. They need to be together.’ This is where I started to realize what the job is.”

In other words, the love that William shares with Jecca and her family is one of the conservationist kind. 

Source: Nicki Swift

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